On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500 people. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. As details of the tragedy emerged, the nation’s top politicians reacted by sending variations on “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and the Las Vegas community.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
But for many young people, who have grown up against the backdrop of mass shootings, thoughts and prayers may not seem like enough. So what other options are there for people who want to DO SOMETHING?
We’ve compiled a short list of ways you can take action, no matter where you are in the country.
1. Educate Yourself.
Knowledge is power, y’all. See how U.S. gun laws have changed over time, and learn about your state’s gun laws compare. From Everytown.org.
2. Call Your Representatives.
Note that we said call, not email or write. If you have opinions on gun restrictions or other policy changes that you feel would make the community safer, actually getting on the phone with your representative’s office and letting them know how you feel is the one of the best ways to get your voice heard. Lower the intimdation factor by getting friends together to hit those phone lines. Look up your representatives and get help on your call scripts here.
3. Give Blood.
If you’re able to, giving blood is a great way to help. Bonus that it’s something you can do matter where you are located. Keep in mind though, blood isn’t just needed in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Consider donating even in the coming weeks and months when those donation lines thin out.
There are lots of people out there who have been touched by this tragedy. Take the time to listen to friends and family who have been touched by gun violence and/or are having a hard time with the unfolding crisis.
5. Donate To Victims.
Whether it’s contributing money to the families shooting victims, the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, or other worth causes, contributing money is one way to help those who have been affected by tragedy. The Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak has set up a fund to
#help victims of the Las Vegas shooting. The Hispanic Federation has a disaster relief fund for Puerto Rico and Mexico. Do your research to make sure the fund and organization is legit.
There are many groups you can join that organize around issues like gun violence. Ask about local chapters or consider starting your own!
7. Self Care.
Sometimes, thinking about all the problems in the world can feel exhausting or overwhelming. Note your feelings and take care of yourself and others so you have the energy to continue making change. You may want to consider talking to a mental health professional. Check out Teen Vogue’s self-care guide for those who have witnessed violence.